Compass Rose

I know very little about the South, just East and West,
the lips, nose and fingertips of the scruffy Southerner,
parts not concealed by distance and clothing.

It’s chilly here in Cambridge,
I keep my eyes level with beer foam
and my hands in my pockets while waiting for cabs,
afraid both will drift—this city is windy
and as merciless as your assumptions.

You think you know about the East and me,
so you come figuratively clean shaven,
don’t look both ways when crossing in front of me,
believe it would be you pressing me against the wall
if I walked into a dark alley behind you.

But I would turn your convictions backwards,
my lips against the back of your neck,
my fingers wrapped around your wrists
spread, a compass rose, against a brick wall
pointing in each and every direction.

Rebecca Schumejda is the author of Falling Forward, a full-length collections of poems (sunnyoutside, 2009); The Map of Our Garden (verve bath, 2009); Dream Big Work Harder (sunnyoutside press 2006); The Tear Duct of the Storm (Green Bean Press, 2001); and the poem "Logic" on a postcard (sunnyoutside).

She received her MA in Poetics and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and her BA in English and Creative Writing from SUNY New Paltz.

Her work has been, or will be, published in the following online and print journals: Brouhaha, Chronogram, Controlled Burn, Full of Crow, Home Planet News, Mannequin Envy, My Favorite Bullet, The New York Quarterly, nibble, Night Train, Outsider Writer, Rattapallax, Rusty Truck, Somerville News, Thieves Jargon, Underground Voices, Wilderness House Literary Review, Word Riot, Words Dance, Zygote in my Coffee, and many other publications.

Currently, she is working on a collection of poems exploring the pool hall subculture, inspired by her short-lived experience as a co-owner of a pool hall.

She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and daughter. She teaches at an alternative high school program in Hudson, NY.

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